Sin is the breaking or transgression of God’s law. 1 John 3:4 reads:
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” NIV
Therefore, anytime we break God’s law, we sin. In my article: Repentance and sin, I explain more about the description of sin and the value of repentance from sin. But, why should we repent? Because there are end results:—consequences of sin. This article, addresses The Danger of Sin.
In the US, sin is a word that has become increasingly ignored these days. More and more this nation is embracing and condoning sinful actions and behaviors in alarming ways. We are adopting behaviors that God has destroyed nations for. A society that is becoming more and more secular with sin simply being ignored.
Does sin have consequences
It is important to realize that sin doesn’t only have negative consequences for individuals, but for nations as well. So what happens when a nation sins against God?
For the answer to questions from a spiritual perspective, the only place to turn is to the Scriptures. Let’s take a look at Prov. 14:34, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” In other words, Godliness makes a nation celebrated—great, but sin is a dishonor to its citizens.
For the most part, politicians and rulers at every level of government—whether it be kings, governors, presidents, prime ministers, or officials—are to seek what will best prosper and exalt their nations. In the end, however, only one factor determines whether a nation rises or falls: righteousness. The nations that follow God’s standards and are governed by His Holy Word are great nations. Countries that embrace selfishness and sin over righteousness suffer disgrace and shame. World history repeatedly proves this to be true. The most obvious illustration is Old Testament Israel. When Israel obeyed and followed God, it became the greatest nation on the face of the earth. But when it forsook God for idols and all manner of sins, it fell. To this day, Israel has yet to be restored to its former glory. And, sadly, Solomon, the king who wrote this very proverb, actually set Israel’s decline in motion.
Israel had reached its peak of greatness during Solomon’s reign, but then began its downward slide when the king stooped to living in brazen and unrestrained immorality with 1,000 women.
To make matters even worse, Solomon exposed his nation to the false gods of all these foreign women.
This emphasizes the critical importance of individual righteousness and responsibility and the importance of righteous leadership.
This is why for those of us who live in a society that allows us to vote for leadership must take that responsibility very seriously. As the leader goes, so goes the nation. Let’s look at this in Scripture. 1 Kings 11:1-13
11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen. KJV
So again, this was the beginning of Israel’s spiritual decline. Because their leader disobeyed, sinned against God and the nation has paid dearly. This begun with the dividing of the kingdom. Because God promised David an everlasting kingdom He split the kingdom and gave one tribe to Solomon’s son to continue David’s throne (vs. 13).
The next passage of Scripture contains the manifestation of this leader’s sin for the nation of Israel.
4 And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.
5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.
7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the Lord; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words,
9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. KJV
Now some 356 years later, Israel is stepped in sin. God sent out numerous prophets asking Israel to turn from their wicked ways and return to Him in righteousness. But they refused (vss. 4-7).
As a result, a price had to be paid (vss. 8-12).
Down through the years, three separate indictments and warnings were issued to the people of Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel).
The first indictment—was issued by Jeremiah. He had been faithfully preaching the Word of God to the people for twenty-three long years, nineteen years during the reign of Josiah and four years during the evil, brutal rule of Jehoiakim. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the Word of God. They rejected His Word and shut their ears to His demand for righteousness. Wanting nothing to do with God’s holy commandments, they rejected the warnings of His Word and denied the fact of coming judgment. Time and again Jeremiah issued his warning, but the people would not listen.
The second indictment—was issued by true prophets down through the years (vss.4-6). Time and again the Lord sent prophet after prophet to the people. But the people refused to listen to God’s servants. The prophets’ message was one of repentance, a message that offered great hope to the people. If they would turn away from evil, the Lord would allow them to stay in the Promised Land (vs.5). If they would turn away from their idol worship—the creations of their own imaginations—God would not judge or harm them (vs.6). Yet despite this wonderful offer of salvation and deliverance, the people shut their ears. They would not listen and paid no attention whatsoever to God’s Word
The third indictment— was issued by the Lord Himself (vs.7). He leveled three strong charges against the people:
⇒ No matter what He offered them, they did not listen to His Word. They stubbornly closed their ears and became hard-hearted against Him.
⇒ They provoked Him by turning away and worshipping false gods. Instead of worshipping Him, the only living and true God, they turned to the idols of the world, the so-called gods created in their own minds and imaginations.
⇒ They brought judgment upon themselves. Because of their stubbornness and their refusal to listen to God’s Word, they had no one to blame but themselves. They had to accept the blame and bear the burden for the coming judgment of God.
In the balance of the chapter, devastating judgment was the consequence of not listening to God’s Word. Due to the people’s intentional spiritual deafness, God’s hand of judgment would fall heavily upon them. They would be conquered by Babylon, exiled throughout the Babylonian Empire, and suffer a seventy-year captivity. The Lord would use King Nebuchadnezzar as His agent of judgment (vv.8-14).
Notice that the Lord referred to Nebuchadnezzar as, “My servant” (27:6; 43:10). This does not mean that Nebuchadnezzar was a righteous man, but rather that God was using him as a servant to execute His justice and judgment on earth. God was appointing Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Judah and all the surrounding nations (v.9). It is important to take note that God uses the righteous and the unrighteous as He wills.
Once Judah and the other nations were completely demolished, they would become objects of horror and scorn. All activities of life would cease. No longer would there be the joyful occasions associated with marriage, work, and home life (v.10). Judah and the other nations would be utterly devastated and become a wasteland (v.11a). Again, note a significant time frame: they would be held in captivity for seventy years (29:10; 2 Chr. 36:21; Dan. 9:1-2). Most likely, the seventy years began at the time of the first deportation of exiles in 605 B.C., the year Daniel was deported to Babylon (Dan. 1:1ff; 9:1-2). This means that the seventy years ended with the first return of exiles in 536 B.C. (Dan. 9:1-2).
But that wasn’t the end of the story the judicial judgment of God had to be executed against Babylon as well. Babylon was guilty of the most horrendous evil, injustice, and cruelty toward other people. The Lord would rise up another nation (Persia) as His agent to execute judgment against the wicked, brutal Babylonians. Just as they had enslaved other nations, so the nations and kings of the Media-Persian Empire would enslave them (v.14).
God leaves no stone unturned regarding His blessings or judgments. He is just in all He does according to our works (vss. 13-14).
Now applying this to today, there Bible contenders who will dismiss this as Old Testament and inapplicable to today. Therefore I would like to direct to a New Testament Scripture,
1 Corinthians 10: the first five verses (vss. 1-5) contain a summary of Israel’s blessings, and their subsequent demise as a result of their unfaithfulness. Out of the over the two million original Israelites that left Egypt, only two entered the Promised Land—Caleb and Joshua.
Verses 6-10 contain a warning:
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [cf. Exod. 32:6]
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. KJV
- 1. Here we have New Testament Scripture confirming the Old Testament. Stating that the things of the Old Testament, namely Israel’s history was written and given to us as an example as well as a warning so that we would not repeat them and experience the same tragic consequences (vss.6, 11). These examples and warning has been handed down to us for our admonition; our cautious warning.
The Scripture is very specific regarding the sins: lust, idolatry, fornication (sexual sins), and temptation of God, murmuring and complaining.
- 2. Note that this warning was written to the Corinthian church by the Apostle Paul. It applies to the church today. The church of today is experiencing the same situation as the Corinthian church experienced.
The security of the Christian believer is one of the great doctrines of the Scriptures. Unfortunately, the doctrine has too often been preached and taught with an inadequate understanding of the doctrine and to the neglect of the warnings of Scripture.
As a result, two of the greatest problems facing the church today are those of false security and over-confidence. But Scripture is clear…if interpreted and taught correctly.
The result has been tragic, for it has brought multitudes into the church who has not been genuinely converted to Christ, and it has given them a sense of false security and over-confidence. Multitudes think they are Christians and followers of Christ, but their lives do not match their profession. The very sins listed in this passage were entrenched in the Corinthian church and they are entrenched in the church and lives of Christians today. It behooves us to learn from the mistakes of others—namely Israel.
We may not bow down to physical idols and statues today, but we certainly have our idols. Sin itself with the lack of repentance is an idol. [Ephesians 5:5] Money and material possessions have become the new religion; societies are increasingly embracing extremely immoral acts ignoring God and His Word—just as Israel did. The moral fiber is in serious decay, and the results are beginning to show. Societies and governments are becoming more and more corrupt and dysfunctional. The slippery slide has begun.
Because God moves in His own time, we don’t see the consequences of national sin right away, in some cases not in one’s life time. Remember as I mentioned earlier, it was 356 years for the pronouncement of judgment came down on Israel. But because the consequences aren’t immediate, doesn’t mean that God is sleeping. He patiently waits for the turn around, the repentance. [2 Pet. 3:9] His goodness is to bring us to repentance. [Rom. 2:4] He’s waiting patiently for us to turn around.
We face danger, great danger: what happened to the believers of Israel can happen to us. If it does, then the doom that fell upon the believers of Israel will fall upon us. It is critical, therefore, to pay attention and know what caused the people of Israel to be destroyed and what kept them from entering the Promised Land and adjust ourselves accordingly.
In my article, https://thechristianadvocate.org/postmodernism-and-the-church/ one of the issues addressed is how it has affected the church. In this age of relativism truth is according to the individual’s belief in his or hers own mind. This in essence kicks absolutes and the Bible to the curb. But it doesn’t matter what we believe the truth to be in our own minds, the real truth always prevails. Because we choose to ignore sin and go our own way, doesn’t erase it and God doesn’t wink at sin. The Scripture is clear: “the wages of sin is death…” [Rom.6:23]
We are promised a Promised Land also but in order to enter it, we will have to acknowledge and accept the truth— and act accordingly or bear the dire consequences. This applies individually and nationally.
Does sin have consequences? You bet it does—dire ones.
Please feel free to leave any comment, question, or concern below.